The female at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest was not gone two minutes before she landed back at the nest. She was wet. It was 16:30:28. She had caught a massive Leather Back for her and the chicks.
The Leather Back has many names including Brown-striped Leatherjacket, Donovan’s Leatherjacket, Southern Leatherjacket, and the White-banded Leatherjacket. They have very small mouths with beak-like teeth. Their skin is often rough feeling – a bit like sandpaper, they say. There is a single serrated spine. There are 20 separate species of Leather Backs in Australia ranging in size from less than 1 kg to 3 kg.
Here is Mum landing back on the nest with her catch. Two of the chicks are watching her.
They put their heads down as Mum finishes the landing. It seems to be an automatic response – heads down when someone approaches the nest. You can just see the head of the fish she has in her talons at the bottom right.
Mum returns to the nest wet. Dad never appeared on the nest so it is clear she is the one who caught that nice big fish. Yeah for Mum!
In the image below, the chicks have been eating for 23 minutes. There is still lots of fish left.
Little Bob is the one up at Mom’s beak. Big Bob has eaten and is already passed out.
Just look at that crop! And, of course, you know who is still up there even though his crop is popping. Yes, it is Little Bob!
Mum and the chicks ate from 16:33 to 18:05:25. It was a glorious feast that Mum provided. She certainly got to eat her fill along with the three babies.
I was reminded of the Mum at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Diane started fishing. Those actions saved the life of Tiny Tot Tumbles. Diane was an expert at catching catfish. There was no threat to the life of Little Bob here. These three have been doing very well. They are now 27 days old (Big and Middle) and 25 days old for Little Bob.
Many times the female does not provide food for the nest until after the osplets have fledged but more and more I am seeing them going off and topping up the day’s deliveries. Blue NC0 at the Loch of the Lowes is a really good example. Iris demonstrated she could really catch fish, big ones and haul them in to the nest. Louis was often hoping she would share!
I wonder if Mum will continue to bring fish to the nest? or did this Leather Back just catch her eye or should I say talon?
It is a grey cold rainy day on the Canadian prairies. We need the rain! The Dark-eyed Juncos are eating the millet seed regardless and this morning there was a group of Starlings in the yard. I won’t be going out to check on the Wood Ducks today!
Thank you so much for joining me. Have a fantastic Sunday. See you soon.
I am grateful to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.